How would you answer if someone asked you to reflect on your practice? What would come to mind? Would you think about the time you spend in seated meditation? Would you jump to judgement on how your practice isn’t what you want it to be, or how you could make improvements? For newer practitioners, the focus is often on time spent in seated meditation practice. For us all, it takes time and dedication to cultivate the space and wisdom to accept everything as our practice.
When I think of practice, I think of my own routine, ritual, or my daily sadhana. Sadhana is the Sanskrit word for spiritual practice. For a deeper look at ritual, please check out Gil Frondal’s article on ritual in Buddhism.
Those of us who return to our practice every day likely have a daily sadhana or spiritual practice we follow. This oftentimes becomes our meditation routine. We find comfort in the connection and consistency of this routine, and it helps encourage and strengthen our practice. Our spiritual practice can be a few moments out of each day or week, or it can be infused throughout your whole day. Below is a list of possibilities to explore and considering adding to your practice:
Possible Daily Buddhist Practices
- Take Refuge in the Triple gem
- Recite the Five Precepts
- Recite the Five Remembrances or Recollections
- Chant or Read a Sutra
- Meditate for 10 minutes or longer
- Dedicate the Merit of Practice
Any of these practices could easily be incorporated into a daily practice, sequentially, or split up throughout your day or week. The whole point of practice is to stay connected and mindful in our daily lives. It is said the basic difference between an enlightened person and the average person is the level of awareness each enjoys. Everything we do can become a spiritual act if we do it with awareness. So even the most mundane daily tasks such as brushing our teeth, walking to our car, and eating can also be a form of sadhana.
Our personal practice is exactly that: personal. We need to take care not to compare or diminish our efforts when we can’t practice how we want to every day. It is my hope to encourage you to reflect on your own routine and perhaps inspire you to add something new. Or maybe even one of these terms or practices may lead to further exploration, clarification or study. Whatever the result, I hope it reinforces the importance of mindfulness, our personal practice, and the commitment to the path we are all walking on.
This topic was also the subject of Anne’s June dharma talk, click here to listen.
By Anne Savery